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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Prefer Playing with Jolly Ball to Eating?

Hi Dr. Getty,

Happy New Year!

I'm writing to ask two questions, one that occurred to me after reading some of the posts on your site.

For starters, Ultium, in my neck of the woods, is up to $17.99/bag. In July, when I first started my horse on it, the cost was $14.99. Purina seems to have many price increases. Regardless, my horse is doing wonderfully on Ultium, thank you Dr. Getty for suggesting that I switch him over. He had gastric ulcer issues in the past, which seem to be under control now, even though he still occasionally will leave or only eat some of his breakfast. (My horse is a 15 y.o. TB gelding.) I also feed him Ration Plus and BPlex.

My first question, and this may sound odd, but would a horse not eat simply because he wanted to be turned out first?

A few weeks ago, we had a terrible, cold, rainy day and the horses did not get turned out. My horse had hay the whole time he was in his stall. The next morning, he had no interest in his breakfast grain and when turned out, showed no interest in his hay. He went straight to his Jolly Ball and began playing with it! Shortly after, he began to eat his hay and then ate his breakfast grain, which the barn manager had put out for him. My barn manager told me he didn't act ill, but seemed like he just wanted out. Is that unusual?

My second question concerns Vitamin E and Selenium. You had mentioned that Ultium doesn't contain enough of either. Should I be concerned with this? My horse eats approximately 4.5 lbs of Ultium/day.

Thanks again Dr. Getty, I look forward to your answer.

Where are you from? MA

How did you locate this forum? internet research

Re: Prefer Playing with Jolly Ball to Eating?

Hi Suzanne!

What an interesting fellow you have! Certainly, he could be more eager to be outdoors and play than eating. That's a good sign because it shows that he's satisfied and as long as he does eventually eat, there is no need to be concerned. I expect that he's feeling better, his stomach is not bothering him, and his nervous system is healthy and calm from the B vitamins you're providing, along with the low starch diet.

Regarding the Vitamin E and selenium... 4.5 lbs of Ultium provides approximately 1.1 mg of Selenium. The label does not give the amount of vitamin E, however, I would expect that it is not more than 100 IU per lb (though this is an estimate). So, he's getting approximately 450 IU of vitamin E, using my assumption.

This level is adequate, though not optimal. If he is being exercised, he could do with some more vitamin E and your soils are low in selenium, so you may want to consider adding a small amount of a supplement. I would recommend Su-Per Natural E/Se and only give him one scoop per day. This will provide an additional 1000 IU of vitamin E and .5 mg of Selenium, bringing his total intake up to optimal levels.

All the very best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO

Re: Prefer Playing with Jolly Ball to Eating?

Thanks for your response, Dr. Getty.

I would like your opinion, after having read another post. It's about ReitSport HA-100 SE.

I just read the product description and it sounds like a complete product containing everything my horse currently receives, which is:

* 4.5 lbs. Ultium/day
* BPlex
* Ration Plus

in addition, he receives:

* monthly Legend injection
* weekly Glucosamine injection

In the last three years, he had his hocks injected twice as well as his right coffin joint.

My vet has said that Legend injections are the way to go for administering HA, but I'm wondering if he received a daily supplement containing it, could it be just as effective. In addition, since Reitsport has the B vitamins of BPlex and a pro-biotic (as good as Ration Plus?), would feeding ReitSport HA-100 SE simplify my life and still keep my horse healthy and sound?

I look forward to your response, thank you so very much!

Where are you from? MA

How did you locate this forum? internet research

Re: Prefer Playing with Jolly Ball to Eating?

Hi Suzanne,

There has been recent evidence to support the benefits of hyaluronic acid, fed orally. Injections are more direct, it's true, but over time, they can be problematic so I don't recommend them for the long term. Reitsport HA-100 is a complete product and would be worthwhile.

I seem to recall that I originally recommended Ration Plus because of your horse's ulcer. If this is the same horse, I would suggest that you continue feeding Ration Plus, in addition to the Reitsport HA-100 because Ration Plus feeds the existing bacteria to keep them healthy. And, whenever there is a problem with the digestive tract, the health of these micro-organisms is very important.

The probiotic in Reitsport does support the digestive tract by adding some of the microbes that exist there. But in the case of an ulcer, it is worthwhile to provided the added support from the prebiotic (Ration Plus) to feed the many different types of microbes living in the hind gut.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO